Honolulu’s Japanese Food Guide: Mochi
PHOTO: OLIVIER KONING
Soft, sweet, chewy clouds in pastels: mochi is so essential to our lives that we find it at our drug stores. For the greatest variety, though, go straight to the source. Our two longtime mochi factories have counters where you can pick and choose. But in the decisions lie the problems.
Nisshodo Candy Store, a business that started almost a century ago, offers the best traditional mochi varieties. Buy the individually wrapped chichi dango, or milk mochi, or choose from various daifuku, mochi filled with coarse or smooth azuki or lima bean paste. Non-mochi delights at Nisshodo include manju, like a stuffed cookie, and monaka, delicate rice wafers sandwiching azuki or lima bean.
1095 Dillingham Blvd., (808) 847-1244
Fujiiya, 60 years old and practically modern compared to Nisshodo, offers some nouveau takes on mochi. Favorites are the ones with fruit, like one with juicy lychee and smooth white bean paste. Order ahead to get the full variety, which include pear, pineapple and mandarin orange.
454 Waiakamilo Road, (808) 845-2921
Newcomer Happy Hearts Mochi has set up shop in Natsunoya Tea House, where you pick up pre-orders of mochi wrapped around chocolate haupia or a whole strawberry, the best strawberry mochi on the island.